The 2018 NCAA men’s lacrosse season ended on Monday with Yale defeating Duke in the national championship game. If the 2018 season is over, that means it’s time to take a peek at 2019, and that’s exactly what Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun started doing on Tuesday.
Because he’s a smart guy who knows what’s what, he’s been doling out his self-described premature preseason top 20 this week five teams at a time. Tuesday’s release saw #20 through #16, and Wednesday included #15 through #11. The Big East looks to be a tough league again in 2019, as Lee’s first two installments included Georgetown (#16) and Villanova (#15).
Thursday’s installment included the teams that Lee has slotted from #10 to #6. But wait, what’s that at #9?
Why, it’s YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles. Yep, as the preseason #9 team in the country.
Here’s the two key components for Lee’s outlook on MU:
Returns: Nine starters, including all six on offense paced by junior attackman John Wagner (30 G, 9 A) and freshman attackman Anthony Orsini (16 G, 7 A).
Reason for optimism: In addition to the return of senior midfielder Tanner Thompson (20 G, 14 A in 2017) from a season-ending lower-body injury, the team has reportedly landed a pair of transfers in redshirt junior attackman Andrew Romagnoli (34 G, 19 A in 2017 at Delaware) and freshman goalkeeper John Hulsman (8.69 GAA, .589 save percentage at Bellarmine).
Lee doesn’t completely have his head in the clouds over Marquette, pointing out that the Golden Eagles will need to replace seniors both in net and on faceoffs. Cole Blazer and Zachary Melillo established themselves as the best player at their respective positions in MU’s still relatively short history, so it won’t be easy. John Hulsman transferring in will at least give head coach Joe Amplo a seasoned veteran option in net. Replacing Melillo on draws will be a little more complicated, as Jared Hershman has only taken 58 draws in two years, and he’s the only returning face-off specialist on the roster right now.
You can check out Friday’s final installment of Lee’s top 20 as well, which includes Big East presumptive favorite Denver.